Director’s Note



We are in a period of great change, of unrest. What is the necessity of artists in these times? What is our contribution?

This is the moment for artists. By incisively addressing the issues at hand, artists are conduits to our futures in causing us to define and think through the ways that we encounter life.

The 2016 MFA Fine Arts graduates have proven themselves more than worthy of the task at hand. Migration & flight, markers of systems of post-colonial impact, relocation, narratives of family, censorship and sacrifice, natural environments reconstituted into the between space of technology, material investigation of the digital glitch – stretched photographic moment slowed by the action of painting, animations that inhabit a projected past-future, all point to a group of artists who are thinking it through. In ‘I Can Because You Do’, curated by Alhena Kastof, we see artists concerned with art making as materially rich, textural and multilayered in its density of cross-researched engagement with art and other disciplines.

It has been a privilege to witness across the two years of Parsons Fine Arts MFA program, our graduating students ideas become honed, as their work developed, gestated, lay dormant, transformed and forged forward. They have researched and trialed their ideas, formed synthesis of thought and outcome and made manifest in material & medium. They have engaged in a process of constant consideration, rethinking, attempting, analysis, and an exploratory, reflective inquiry. The work in this exhibition is in no small part due to the exceptional faculty that they come into contact with.

At Parsons Fine Arts we create a challenging and diverse learning environment for emerging artists to develop innovative material techniques, studio-based creative research and critical scholarship. We encourage them to move fluidly between solo, collaborative and communal practice. We embrace interdisciplinary approaches to making and thinking in our studios, promote our graduates to become critical and original contributors to what contemporary art and visual culture is today. Within our international student and faculty community, we actively promote a global understanding of the arts that challenges work to travel from one context to another, from one community to another, across difference and allegiance, multiple languages and symbolic systems. With this keen awareness of the community they speak from and the community they speak to, our graduates exhibit the tenacity, strength, and risk-taking required to formulate critical questions that have the potential to profoundly open up and change our politics and philosophies as well as the perception and understanding of our environment, our emotions, our politics, our world today.

On behalf of the MFA Fine Arts Program, heartfelt thanks to our colleagues across the New School and also to our Parsons & AMT leadership, faculty and staff. We are indebted to our outstanding curator, Alhena Katshof.
As the class of 2016 joins our Alumnus, they become our future colleagues – artists, writers, curators, and teachers. Parsons Fine Arts is the proud growing sum of our students with dissenting ideas, radical opinions, revolutionary spirit and progressive solutions. As their vital and crucial and fresh voices enter and reverberate in the world they become the groundbreakers, the futuremakers.

Simone Douglas
Associate Professor
Director MFA Fine Arts